Learn to speak your shaper’s language
Blank: Rough-molded foam core that comes in different basic designs and rockers depending on the length and type of surfboard being shaped. Usually made from polyurethane foam.
Epoxy: Type of plastic resin used by some manufacturers in place of polyester resin. Usually an epoxy-user also uses an EPS blank, which can be badly affected by standard polyester resins. Known for its durability.
Expanded Polystyrene (EPS): A type of foam also known as Styrofoam or bead foam. Polystyrene beads are expanded by steam in a mold, with desired density determined by the quantity of beads expanded within that mold.
Polyurethane (PU): The most common type of foam used in surfboard manufacturing. Usually employed together with polyester resin.
Carbon Fiber: A strong compound, soakable in resin, is occasionally laid in strips along the length, rails, or tails of a board during glassing to help prevent creasing.
Foil: The distribution of foam from nose to tail on a surfboard. For the board to flow correctly, it must have an even volume through the shape. If there is excessive foam left in the nose, center, or tail, it will create uneven flow and cause the surfboard to be unbalanced.
Bottom Contour: The lateral curve of the bottom of the board as it runs from rail to rail. Can be flat, convex, concave, or a combination.
Drive: The result of water passing along the bottom surface of a surfboard, causing acceleration along the face of a wave. A key factor for control and direction, affected heavily by choice of fin setup.
Channels: The channel bottom consists of flat planes that are designed in a concave configuration. Since the channels sit side by side, the water isn’t compressed as it is in a full concave, and each channel propels water down the underbelly of the surfboard and converts it into forward thrust. Longer and deeper channels create a more pronounced effect.
Concave: The main purpose of concave is to channel the water flow down the length of the surfboard. This channeling of the water along the center of the board and out through the tail adds more lift and responsiveness to the surfboard. Concaves are an important design feature that can cause a board to track swiftly and improve tail responsiveness for critical turns.
Drag: The effect that causes water flow to be slowed or disrupted as it passes along a surfboard’s surfaces. Controlled drag is an essential requirement of surfboard design.
Rails: The perimeter of the board. There are several different types of rails that all produce a different effect. Soft and rounded rails make the board slower, but easier to handle. Down rails increase speed, but make the board more difficult to turn. Sharper rails promote quick turns, but don’t carry momentum as well as fuller rails.
50/50: A proportional distribution of rail where the widest point is at the midpoint of the rail.
Down Rails: A rail that comes to an edge at the bottom of the board.
Rolled Rails: Down rails that are rolled under the board.
Round Rails: A rounded edge that is almost a complete semicircle.
Rocker: The curve of your surfboard from nose to tail. It can be broken down into different sections such as nose rocker, tail rocker, and center. It affects the flow of water from entry to release.
Release: The effect that allows water flow to be accelerated as it passes along a surfboard’s surfaces. Release is altered through tail rocker, outline curves, trailing fin edges, and through bottom features such as concaves and channels. Controlled release (along with its opposite, drag) is essential to successful surfboard design.
Tails: The back section of the board. Tails are crucial in determining how a surfboard will function. Increased tail width means greater speed, especially in smaller surf, but less control; narrower tails don’t maneuver as well, but adhere better to the wave face and are ideal for tube riding and big-wave boards.
Pin: This tail converges into a sharp pinpoint and functions optimally in large waves due to its minimal surface area.
Round: With a bit more surface area than the rounded pin, the round tail performs best in mid-range surf, allowing for smooth turns.
Rounded Pin: Optimal for rail surfing and can hold in bigger conditions.
Square: Features sharp, rectangular edges and allows for speedy, angular surfing.
Squash: The squash is a squaretail with rounded edges, which softens the feel and lessens responsiveness. The squash has become a staple of shortboards.
Swallow: Swallowtails are marked by a vee cut into the tail, leaving what looks like a swallow’s tail. It allows for a wider tail and more speed while maintaining maneuverability.
Vee: The opposite of concave, vee is used to loosen up the tail at high speeds by increasing the rocker at the rail line, making it easier to lean on edge and turn.